Monday, 12 October 2009

We Have Got a Problem with “We Have Got”

Many learners I know have got problems with “I have got”. For some it’s the form of the construction; for others the tense; but for most the problem is “what’s the difference between “have got” and “have”???????

Good question!

I have a headache / I have got a headache

I don’t have a car / I haven’t got a car

Do you have to go? / Have you got to go?

What’s the difference???

In some grammar books the authors bend over backwards (<- idiom = try very hard) to find a difference; I think some even invent differences!!

Here is my solution:

I have and I have got mean the SAME!

Now, that is not so difficult, is it?

What I have noticed is that people use I have got more in Britain and not so much in USA.

The form of I have etc is the same as any normal verb – see: Present Simple / Past Simple etc.

So we say:

I have … / he has …

I don’t have … / he doesn’t have …

Do you have …? / Does he have …?

The form of I have got etc is the same as the Present Perfect.

So we say:

I have got … / he has got …

I haven’t got … / he hasn’t got …

Have you got …? / has he got …?

This means it is maybe a little more complicated than I have. Also we normally don’t use I have got in the past tense:

I have got a meeting at 10 today (present of have got)

I had a meeting at 10 yesterday (past of have)

In my courses I tell people that it is enough to know that have got exists and that people use it but – and this is the GOOD NEWS – you don’t need to use it and therefore you don’t really need to learn it!!

Just use have and that’s enough!

English is Easy! does it again!!

1 comment:

Deadly_zone said...

Hello ,
Thank you very much, although I am an English teacher but I have troubles with them

Learn Foreign Languages

best wishes

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